Innovative solutions

The looming crisis of global warming caused by CO2 in the atmosphere is threatening our very existence. The recent dangerous floods in Quebec and BC, the melting of arctic ice, the alarming rise in sea level, etc. show how fatal global warming is. The sea level is projected to rise 1 to 4 feet by 2100, threatening low-lying areas. The current CO2 level in the atmosphere is 400 ppm and rising at a rate of 2 ppm/year.

PEO’s Ottawa Chapter recently challenged engineers and students in Ottawa to innovate a solution that would quickly eliminate the very high level of CO2 in the atmosphere in a controllable, economic and environmentally-friendly way.

At an event held at the RA Centre in May, six engineers and graduate students pitched their product ideas and solutions to a panel of six judges. The event was organized by me as chair of the chapter’s entrepreneurship program, and assisted by others in the chapter.

A large audience was present. Three winners were selected. The first prize winners ($500) were David Carter and Sean Wilson. The two winners tied for second place were Ahmad Sharoodi and Mohammad Aghaji ($250); and Brent Weatherall, Mathieu Tousignant and Phillip Williams ($250).

David Carter and Sean Wilson proposed to convert CO2 to ethanol by high-selectivity electrochemical conversion using a copper nanoparticle/N-doped graphene electrode. Ahmad Sharoodi and Mohammad Aghaji proposed adsorption-based air CO2 capture and application (ABACA) that captures and stores CO2 in a container that can be diffused into concrete, making it much stronger. Brent Weatherall, Mathieu Tousignant and Phillip Williams proposed design of solar-powered vertical algae farming using woven nylon membrane with a pore size of 10-180 µm for algae retention. Zachary Jacobson proposed ocean fertilization with volcanic ash stimulating phytoplankton growth that will absorb CO2 from air, sequestering carbon and releasing oxygen. Sushanth Sankaran proposed electricity generation by piezo electric devices for joggers, walkers, and piezo blankets for highways (cars). Sam Yakoub proposed new tall towers with thousands of wind turbines to generate electricity and storing hydrogen, ethanol and others.

The event was enjoyed by all and we appreciated the approaches to address the challenge of reducing existing CO2 in the atmosphere. This will not only benefit Ontario, but Canada and the world as well.

Tapan Das, PhD, P.Eng.,
Ottawa, ON